Intradermal microdialysis: kinetics of iontophoretically delivered propranolol in forearm dermis

J Control Release. 2000 Feb 3;63(3):331-9. doi: 10.1016/s0168-3659(99)00214-x.


Intradermal microdialysis permits us to measure the concentration in dermis of drugs applied to the skin. Microdialysis is especially efficient in sampling water-soluble molecules. Consequently, it appears particularly suitable to study current based delivery systems like iontophoresis that deliver ions or highly polar molecules. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the adequacy of a skin microdialysis technique to characterize and quantify the dermatopharmacokinetics of iontophoretically delivered propranolol in the dermis of healthy human volunteers. Linear microdialysis probes were inserted in the subject's forearm skin and an iontophoresis device was installed above them. Constant current was applied for two periods of 1 h each separated by a 1-h interval. Dialysate samples were collected every 6 min for 4.4 h and analyzed by HPLC. Probes were always placed in the dermis as measured by ultrasonography. Propranolol was detectable in the dialysate. It was possible to build detailed concentration vs. midtime profiles that mirrored the current applied. Elimination rate from the dermis had first-order kinetics and was similar in all subjects. Quantification of the absorption process, indexed by lag-time and area under the concentration curve showed a high inter- and intrasubject variability that did not correlate with probe depth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fluorescein
  • Forearm
  • Humans
  • Iontophoresis*
  • Male
  • Microdialysis
  • Propranolol / administration & dosage
  • Propranolol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Skin / metabolism*


  • Propranolol
  • Fluorescein